You will pay more for an Intel and in terms of lasting, all CPU's last a while if they are properly cooled. As for obsolescence, getting a recent CPU will guard against that. If the processor says Phenom, Core 2, or i7, it is a recent processor. It's going to be difficult getting a $500 PC, but it is doable especially since you already have many of the components.
Motherboard: ASUS M3A78 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX
- This motherboard allows for Crossfire not SLI. Since you're not planning on doing high-end gaming with this PC that should not be an issue. $80
CPU: AMD Phenom 8750 Toliman 2.4GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Triple-Core Black Edition Processor
- This is a unique processor. Typically, processors come in dual or quad core, not triple core. This CPU has processing power greater than a dual core but less than a quad core making it an excellent value and has more longevity. This is why I chose AMD for your PC since Intel does not have triple core processors and their quads that operate at the same clock speed are more expensive. Also, since it is Black Edition, it is easily overclockable and comes at a decent clock speed. $124
CPU Fan: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm
- I've had one of these, they keep the CPU nice and cool with a minimum of noise. This is required since Black Edition processors do not come with fans. $30
RAM: Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
- If you have the money, get two of these kits giving you a grand total of 8GB of RAM. Newegg is having a free shipping special on these and there is a $20 mail in rebate. $75 (Before Rebate)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit
- You need a 64-bit operating system to take advantage of more than 3.5GB of memory. $100
Optical Drive: Lite-On Combo Drive
- I'm not sure if you already have one of these, if you do there is no need to purchase this. $22
Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W
- If you already have one that works, and has a decent wattage at or higher than this one, purchasing this power supply is not needed. If you plan on using Crossfire or SLI, a more expensive power supply is needed. Corsair makes excellent power supplies. There is also a $10 mail-in rebate for this. $70 (Before Rebate)
If you buy everything on this list (you didn't provide a list of parts you will be reusing) you will spend $576 before rebates. If you reuse your optical drive and power supply, you will be at your budget. This PC mixes value and power. The triple core processor is a great deal in terms of processing abilities, value, and longevity. The RAM amount, which if you purchase two kits is the maximum your motherboard supports, can easily handle anything thrown at it especially when combined with Vista 64-bit.
Edited by DJBPace07, 02 December 2008 - 01:26 AM.